Pastor's Desk: First Sunday of Advent
Happy New Year! No don’t worry, I haven’t completely lost it. Today we begin a new year in the church’s liturgical life with the First Sunday of Advent. Advent has a twofold character; firstly we are preparing to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ among us as man when he was born in a stable in Bethlehem. Secondly, we also look forward to His glorious second coming at the end of time. The later theme will be dominant up until the 16th December and then we are into immediate preparations for celebrating the birth of the Christ child in history.
Archbishop Ronan Williams, Head of the Anglican Communion, recently described Advent as the forgotten season. He was referring to the fact that secular society has begun celebrating Christmas already while we Christians are only now beginning to prepare for it. We see this in our own city too with the lighting of the Christmas lights in November. Is it any wonder that people are stressed out and fed up by the time the great festival arrives?
If there is one word that sums up Advent it would be HOPE. We hear how the Jewish people longed for the promised Messiah 2000 years ago. Our looking to Jesus Christ return in Glory reminds us of the salvation that is still to come. Hope is also important as we mark the first year since the publication of the Murphy Report. Our hope is that the victims/survivors are progressing on their journey to justice and healing; that our church at all levels has realised the need for renewal. This journey is not over yet and will be before us for many years to come.
We also need hope in face of the economic situation facing us all in this state. We will only come though it in solidarity with each other. We pray for that solidarity now.
Our time of preparation begins today and it will be a struggle to keep our thoughts on the spiritual nature of the season of Advent, a time of waiting, conversion and hope. We will be marking our progress through the four Sundays by lighting a candle on our Advent wreath. Each week the light will brighten as we get ever nearer to the celebration of the birth of the Saviour.
Church Notices: 28th November 2010
- The St. Vincent DePaul Annual Toy Sunday takes place at all Masses today. The gifts and toys for the poor should be brought to the Jesse Tree at the Offertory Procession or after Mass.
- The monthly Mass for the Padre Pio Prayer Group takes place on Thursday morning at 10.00am Mass. All are welcome.
- Church Repository Christmas Fair: For a large selection of Christmas cards, cribs, candles, angels, wrapping paper, advent calendars, Church Liturgical Calendars 2011, and many more gift ideas, don’t forget to call to the back of the church after all Masses today where the items will be on display and available for purchase.
- Advent calendars are available at the doors of the church for the children. Please take one home with you.
- Many of you like to remember deceased relatives and friends at Mass on Christmas Day. There is a list in the Sacristy so please call in over the next couple of weeks to place family names of the dead on the list for the Mass of your choice. As we did last year, the lists will be placed on the Altar instead of being read out.